I'm 60,000 words deep into my current manuscript at the moment and for the life of me, cannot pull together a "spiritual arc". For those of you who don't spend your life obsessing about such things, this is you chracters' spiritual journey through a book.
The general rule being they should end up a better, wiser person than they were on page one and having grown in their faith. Or if they didn't have one, having one. Or if they'd once had one but lost it, having found it again. And a variety of variations on the theme.
My characters' stubborn refusal to go along with the arcs I had mapped out for them, along with my seeming inability to write anything about faith that doesn't come across as cheesy, trite, pious or just downright fake has me mulling what is Christian fiction?
Is it something that happens to be published by a "Christian Publisher"? Is it something that just doesn't have any swearing or sex in it? Does God have to be mentioned at all? If your hero or heroine doesn't believe in God, do they need to by the end? If it doesn't mention God, does it need to have some sort theme that gets the reader pondering eternal things? Can you have the occasion "minor" swear word if you throw in a Bible verse to even it out? (okay I'm being a little facetious on that one). Does good conquering evil sufficient? Does it count just if the author is a Christian?
So tell me what are your thoughts? When you are reading a book what would be in it that would make you classify it as Christian versus a good book with an uplifting theme? Or even just a wholesome book that you wouldn't be embarrassed if your grandmother borrowed it? Does it even matter to you how much of a faith journey there is or isn't integrated?